Managers are expected to enforce safety in the workplace. One risk your team could be regularly exposed to is the possibility of dealing with asbestos on a project.
EOSH Consulting defines asbestos as a carcinogenic material or mineral commonly used in construction projects. The company advises that asbestos removal and survey should be done by professionals. Before calling in the experts though, your team must be equipped to identify the risk of asbestos and what to do if they suspect the presence of asbestos.
Making sure that all members of your team are educated about asbestos sets the first line of defence. As managers, you must also make sure that your team has the right attitude towards workplace safety. You can implement systems where your team members check on each other to help avoid being lax with their PPEs (personal protective equipment) or other safety practices at work. You can even have drills on identifying asbestos and the prompt response to its presence.
Always Be Vigilant
Safe Work Australia regulations state that materials have to be considered to carry asbestos unless proven otherwise. You can review your team on the following conditions on when to assume a building has asbestos:
Date of construction. Although the use of asbestos was officially banned on 31 December 2003, it would be safer for you team to assume that some builders might have used asbestos even later.
Dates of refurbishment or extension. If there were any structural changes done to the building from the 1980s down to the early 2000s, asbestos might have been used.
Types of materials used. Your team can assume the presence of asbestos if the building was constructed around the above given period and the use of cement sheeting. Also, expect asbestos when working with vinyl tiles for kitchens, dining rooms, bathrooms and laundries and any sewage pipes.
For more protective measures, you can talk to the previous designers or builders about the use of asbestos before entering the site. Also, keep reminding your team that when it comes to asbestos, it is safer to assume it is there and have it checked than getting exposed.